Cats get behind responsible gambling campaign

News

The Geelong Cats are partnering with the Victorian Government to help give problem gambling the boot and encourage young men to gamble responsibly this footy season.

In collaboration with the Victorian Government and Gambler’s Help, the Cats will help promote the message of responsible gambling through community education and promotional activities and a dedicated player ambassador, Harry Taylor.

Minister for Gaming Michael O’Brien said that sport and gambling were often closely associated with each other in Australian culture.

Mr O’Brien said the Cats were in a unique position to be able to act as an advocate on responsible gambling.

“Geelong deserves praise for partnering with us to promote responsible gambling, especially given its decision to forgo sponsorship by sports betting agencies,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Geelong footy club is a community and sporting leader, so I welcome its recognition of the effect of problem gambling on the community,” Mr O’Brien said.

Harry Taylor is pleased to be getting behind the campaign as an ambassador.

“The message is an important one and something I really believe in. What we’re saying isn’t ‘don’t gamble’, it’s to gamble responsibly and to look out for your mates,” Taylor said.

“I have thrown my full support behind the Club’s partnership with Gambler’s Help to communicate the message that if you need help, there is support. Gambling and its risks are not discussed enough in our community; this is a great opportunity to encourage those conversations.”

Cats President Colin Carter said the club was proud of its contribution to the local community and the partnership with Gambler's Help was another way in which the Geelong Cats could contribute to the welfare of its customers, supporters and their families.

“We want to be known for our leadership in promoting responsible gambling practices, and so, this partnership is a very good fit for us,” Carter said.

The partnership has seen active involvement from the Geelong players with a player education session held on 9 February attended by 41 players and 9 coaching staff.

The sessions explained the partnership between Gambler’s Help, the Geelong Cats and Gambler’s Help services. Former Melbourne Demons footballer Daniel Ward shared his personal story about gambling problems with participants.

The partnership will influence operations across the whole Club, it will involve the promotion of the key messages to its players, coaches and the broader community.

The partnership will also involve the Cats gaming venues working closely with the local Gambler’s Help Service, Bethany Community Support, to instill best practice training and trial additional responsible gambling practices that will help protect the welfare of their patrons.

Mr O’Brien said Gambler’s Help services were readily available and easy to access.

“Gamblers at risk need to be encouraged to get help before their gambling becomes a problem for them,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This partnership will deliver responsible and problem gambling messages directly to young men, who research suggests are at greater risk of developing gambling problems.”

Research shows that young men are particularly at risk with 50 per cent of problem gamblers having started gambling when aged 18 to 24 years.

“Gambling should always be seen as only one form of entertainment in a balanced lifestyle. It becomes an issue when it causes harm to the gambler and those close to them,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to tackling problem gambling and grassroots partnerships like this are hugely important in getting results and reducing the harm caused by problem gambling.”

The sponsorship is being funded as part of the government's $150 million package to tackle problem gambling through the establishment of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the largest financial commitment in Victoria’s history to reducing problem gambling.

Gambler’s Help Line (1800 858 858) provides free confidential support and advice 24 hours a days, 7 days a week for gamblers, their friends and families. There is also online support available through gamblinghelponline.org.au. It offers live counselling, self help tools and other services.

Click here to read about G21's Problem Gambling project